The Twentieth Century Is A Strange Satire

The Twentieth Century.

Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century may be one of the strangest historical satires about Canada that one will ever see in theaters.

This film is not going to make any sense to people who are unfamiliar with Canada’s political history.  Take it from this American.  My initial reaction following the film basically comes down to this:  I don’t know what to make of what I just saw.  This is certainly a satire that plays better for those familiar with the history.  Otherwise, you’ll probably be just as confused as me.  I do not mean this in a bad way but rather in a “Did this actually happen?!?” kind of way.

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Daniel Beirne) holds the current record for most years served in office as Prime Minister.  Looking over his Wikipedia page, Rankin exaggerates some parts of his life.  King’s relationship with Bert Harper (Mikhaïl Ahooja) is a lot closer than the film would have you believe.  Again, what happened in actual history isn’t all that important in terms of the film.  If it were, elections would be decided by competitions in ribbon cutting, leg wrestling, cutting the line, etc.

Visually speaking, the film is certainly an achievement for the first-time feature filmmaker.  There’s a grainy palette that lends the film a period feel.  The film is presented in 4:3, which also helps the feel of the film, too.  Of all the choices, I do have to question the casting of a cisgender man as a cisgender woman.  Whether or not Lady Violet is real, I don’t know.

The Twentieth Century is a solid first feature for director Matthew Rankin and will play best for midnight audiences.

CAST:  Daniel Beirne, Sarianne Cormier, Mikhaïl Ahooja, Catherine St-Laurent, Sean Cullen, Trevor Anderson

The Twentieth Century screens during the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival in the Comedy program. Oscilloscope Laboratories will release the film in 2020. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.